Monday, January 26, 2009

I have loved you for so long, pt 2

It is disconcerting to wipe the tears from your eyes and leave the darkened cinema, to find yourself in the 30 degree sunshine of a summer afternoon. Like finding your sea legs don't quite support you on land. So when Penny, my film companion, commented on how odd it had been to hear a character speaking English in a French film, the most I could manage was a vague 'Mmm, yeah...' It was only when I got home that I thought about it. There was a scene in English? How did I miss that? In the context it should have been jarring and dislocating, showing the isolation of the character from those around her. But, until a few hours ago, I would have sworn no such thing ever happened.

So, just to show I was paying attention I will tell you something else about the film: Claudel begins most scenes in the middle of a scene. Pretty much every single one. So you join characters at the wine and cigarette point of an evening spent together, at the closing stage of an interview, at the time when the dishes are ready to be put away after washing, at the vein popping stage of an argument. How's that for economy and sparseness in storytelling? And I was paying attention.

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